In times of financial uncertainty it can be difficult to motivate a workforce, and even harder to motivate and engage with individual members of staff. For an employee, feeling that their boss cares about them is one important aspect of engagement. However, ‘showing you care’ in a genuine and effective way can prove difficult.
Showing a genuine interest in health and wellbeing is one way of highlighting that the employer cares about the individual, giving employees more reason to care about the organisation. This also ensures that absenteeism is reduced to a minimum. Ensuring that staff are healthy can also help increase productivity – not only increasing profit, but also staff motivation.
Benefits have always been a popular way of engaging with staff and many health benefit plans now represent a positive opportunity for both employer and employee. For example, schemes that offer private medical treatment ensure employees who have not previously been able to access private treatment may have the chance now.
This is useful for maintaining regular check ups, but can prove invaluable if the employee needs specific medical intervention. For example, if an employee is waiting for a vital operation and cannot return to work before it is completed, private medical care can often help speed up the process, instead of the employee having to rely on the NHS.
Situations like this often lead to a drastic reduction in the time spent waiting for and planning treatment. As well as the obvious benefits to the employee, this brings significant benefits to the organisation, as the employee will be able to return to work more promptly.
There are obvious business benefits to ensuring that staff are at the peak of their health. Being able to offer a helping hand with medical requirements also shows that the organisation is compassionate and cares about employees. Managers and decision-makers in many large organisations might have very little contact with the ‘grass roots’ staff, but by providing healthcare solutions, an organisation can retain the ‘human aspect’.
This is especially effective if members of management make a special effort to contact staff who may be undergoing medical procedures. This contact not only helps gain feedback on how well the benefit schemes are working, but also shows employees they are not simply ‘one of a number’ and are valued by the company. In addition, this extra effort adds to the level of employee engagement and can be a valuable tool in employee retention.
As well as important medical procedures and regular check-ups for maintenance, many modern benefit schemes also offer certain aesthetic treatments, such as laser eye treatment or even teeth whitening, as part of the package. Whilst such treatments do not have a direct impact on staff health, they can increase motivation in staff by allowing them to take advantage of something they could afford without a benefit scheme.
It may not be obvious to management why a team member is desperate to have their teeth whitened, but if it is important to the individual employee, it should be important to the organisation. By offering these benefits, the organisation is proving they listen to each team member and are doing what they can to make that possible.
Many organisations are still unsure of the financial benefits maintaining staff health can bring. However, savvy organisations are not only using benefits as an incentive now, but also as a benchmarking tool to measure employee engagement. If staff are taking an active interest in the schemes offered, and are taking full advantage of the benefits available to them, then chances are they are more fully engaged with the organisation.
Additionally, encouraging staff to make choices and decide to take advantage of the schemes allows valuable data regarding staff interests and priorities to be gathered. This information can be invaluable when reassessing the benefits offered to staff, as well in the appointment of new team members.
Listening to employees in this way is imperative to ensure complete engagement between employer and employee. After all, an organisation cannot expect staff to be fully engaged and committed to the needs of the company if the management is showing no sign of being engaged and committed to the staff!
Stewart Sweda is Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Healthy Discounts